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What is Hindusthan Samachar RSS-backed agency, Prasar Bharati's news feed source?

The Hindusthan Samachar news organization, backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has signed a two-year contract to supply

By Ground report
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What Is Hindusthan Samachar, Prasar Bharati's News Feed Source?

The Hindusthan Samachar news organization, backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has signed a two-year contract to supply news to Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR).

Prasar Bharati cancelled his subscription to the Press Trust of India (PTI), the non-profit cooperative of Indian newspapers, in 2020.

Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio. Hindusthan Samachar was founded in 1948 by Shivram Shankar Apte, RSS leader and co-founder of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

According to its website, Hindusthan Samachar was established at a time when “the country needed a news agency that not only provided news in its own languages but was also inspired, motivated and informed by a spirit of true Bharatiya (Indian) nationalism, The Indian Express reported.

Hindusthan Samachar had been providing its cable services to Prasar Bharati free of charge since 2017 on an "evaluation basis". As part of the new deal, signed for almost Rs 7.7 crore, Hindusthan Samachar will provide at least 100 news items every day to Prasar Bharati, including a minimum of 10 national stories and 40 regional language stories, The Wire reported.

The recent bitter clashes of the Narendra Modi government with the news organizations PTI and United News of India (UNI) over the past few years preceded the most recent decision by Prasar Bharati to legally induct Hindusthan Samachar.

Modi govt had major problems with news coverage of PTI

Prasar Bharati's latest move to formally incorporate Hindusthan Samachar was preceded by the Narendra Modi government's bitter clashes with news agencies PTI and United News of India (UNI) in recent years.

Since 2014, the Modi government has had major and minor problems with the independent news coverage of the PTI. However, things came to a head when in 2020, a senior Prasar Bharati official, Samir Kumar, wrote to PTI's marketing director that the news agency's "recent news coverage" of the Ladakh standoff it was detrimental to the “national interest” and undermined the “territorial integrity of India”.

The letter added: "It is also mentioned that the PTI had… been alerted time and time again by the Public Broadcaster about editorial lapses that resulted in the dissemination of erroneous news that harmed the public interest."

The government was also very upset about PTI's interviews with the Chinese ambassador to India and the Indian ambassador to China in 2020, in the wake of the border clash in Ladakh.

The government felt that while the Chinese ambassador should not have been interviewed in the first place, Indian Ambassador Vikram Misri's comments in the PTI interview about the Chinese intrusions caused much embarrassment as they contradicted the prime minister's claim that no Indian Territory had been compromised.

“PTI's anti-national reporting makes it no longer tenable to continue relationship,” an anonymous Prasar Bharati official told reporters at the time.

Hindusthan Samachar, which has a stated mission of presenting news from a "nationalist" perspective, was forced to close in 1986 following a financial crisis. However, it was revived by RSS in 2002 during A.B. Vajpayee's tenure as Prime Minister.

What is Hindusthan Samachar

Hindusthan Samachar is a multilingual news agency founded in 1948 by SS Apte, who also founded the right-wing organization Vihsva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in 1964.

"The (late) thinker Shivram Shankar Apte, who was involved in preparing the fertile ground for the vision of Indian thought amid Western influence, had established the Hindusthan Samachar news agency," the wire service says on its website.

According to the website of the New Delhi-headquartered agency, Hindusthan Samachar has 22 offices and correspondents in 600 locations across the country.

Hindustan Samachar's website claims that it is the leading news agency with the "highest number" of subscribers in the country", providing wire services to hundreds of news organizations. It operates in multiple languages like Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Telugu, Odia and Marathi."


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